Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
New York, NY, United States (4E) – Respected consumer-oriented research magazine Consumer Reports isn’t advising Americans to buy the Tesla Model 3, mainly on account of this all-electric sedan’s less than satisfactory braking system. In contrast, it previously rated the full-sized luxury Tesla Model S as among the best cars it had ever tested.
Consumer Reports faulted the Model 3 for its weak, inconsistent brakes and hard-to-use controls. It reported that in emergency braking tests, the Model 3 took 152 feet, on average, to come to a stop from 60 miles an hour. That’s about 20 feet longer than the average for other cars similar to the Model 3. That distance was seven feet farther than the distance travelled by the Ford F-150 full-size truck, said CR. The Model 3’s braking performance was also extremely inconsistent.
It was the weak and inconsistent braking performance that kept the Model 3 from earning a recommendation, said Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for CR. That leaves open the possibility that if Tesla were to improve the car’s braking performance, the car might then earn a recommendation from CR.
The magazine was also unimpressed by the Model 3’s controls, almost all of which are crammed on a large centrally-located touch screen. Adjusting the side mirrors or changing the direction of the air flow from the dashboard vents requires using the screen. That means extended periods of time in which the driver’s eyes are off the road ahead. “This layout forces drivers to take multiple steps to accomplish simple tasks,” said CR.
CR also criticized the Model 3 for its firm ride, uncomfortable rear seats and wind noise at highway speeds. The magazine, however, had some good things to say about the Model 3. It said the car is exciting to drive, and praised the car’s acceleration, handling and driving range.
In the CR tests, the Model 3 went from zero to 60 miles an hour in just 5.3 seconds, and testers found the sedan’s handling reminiscent of a Porsche Boxster two-seat sports car.
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